Lynn, MA - The Falcons baseball team had a lot to be happy about this afternoon on Senior Day Saturday. Not only did the Falcons sweep the Gators, 13-0 and 3-1, but senior pitcher Zack Leblanc (Salem, MA) broke the Fisher all-time strikeout record while earning his NAIA leading 9th season win. Leblanc needed three strikeouts to surpass the school record of 205, but finished his outing with five leading his team to a 13-0 win in the first game of the afternoon. The 10 seniors were also honored prior to the game, acknowledging their individual accomplishments through their years at Fisher. Kevin Bongiovanni (Bayside, NY), Yamil Delgado (Caguas, PR), Jean Carlos Figueroa (Dorado, PR), Raymundo Gomez (Lynn, MA), John Hilcher (Bloomfield, NJ), Leblanc, Wesley Lopez (Caguas, PR), Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY), Ivan Rivera (Brooklyn, NY) and Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) are the baseball seniors who will be graduating this spring.
Game 1- After Leblanc made quick work of the Gators in the top half of the first inning, the Falcons offense did some work of their own getting five runs in the bottom half. Centerfielder Jorge Sanchez (Caguas, PR) led off the game with a walk, but after two quick outs from Gators starter Saul Oquendo, the Falcons put together four hits, a walk, a pair of steals, and took advantage of two Gators errors, to take a 5-0 lead after one full inning. Leblanc gave up one of his two hits of his outing in the second, but was able to work around it. The Falcons went quietly in the second and Leblanc went back to work in the top of the 3rd, fanning two of three Gators to have sole possession of the Fisher strikeout record.
The Falcons added on to their lead in the bottom of the third when a pair of walks and a PMC error loaded the bases with just one out. Jacob Deziel (Merrimac, MA) knocked in a pair on a single up the middle for his second hit of the day to put his team up 7-0. Sanchez and Rivera went back-to-back adding three more RBI's to make it 10-0 after three full. Leblanc gave up just his second hit in the top of the 4th, the last of the hits for the Gators, but it was nullified by an inning-ending double play to keep it 10-0. FC added a pair in the bottom of the 4th on singles from Cameron Pearson (Orlando, FL), Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY) and a triple from Deziel to make it 12-0 heading to the 5th. Both teams would go quietly in the 5th and fellow senior Bongiovanni would come in for relief of Leblanc in the 6th. An error and a walk put some life into the Gators bench, but a pick-off and two straight outs would get Bongiovanni out of the inning unscathed.
The Gators went to the bullpen in the top of the 6th as Tyreek Grisham came in for Oquendo, but a wild start including a hit batsman, a single and a walk forced PMC to go back to their bench. Garrett Gagnon almost got his team out of the bases loaded jam striking out the first two batters he faced, but a Reynaldo Vega (Aguada, PR) single plated Braxten Ramirez (Amarillo, TX) for the 13-0 lead. Senior relief man Gomez would come in to pitch in the 7th, quickly getting the final three outs for the 13-0 victory.
Deziel continued to hit well in the nine-hole for the Falcons as he went 3 for 4 at the plate with 4 RBI's. Pearson and Perez each rapped a pair of hits in the win, combining for four Falcons runs and two RBI's. Leblanc earned the win on the mound, allowing just two hits, walking one and striking out five. Brian Jones and Terry Daniels both had a hit in the losing effort, while Saul Oquendo took the loss for the Gators, pitching five innings, giving up 10 hits and striking out a pair.
Game 2- Although the lineups were very similar in game two, the outcome was very different as neither team could get much going offensively. Norberto Ceballos (Loiza, PR) got the start for the Falcons, his first since March 15th. He struck out the first two batters, a welcome start for any pitcher returning from injury and worked around a two-out double to get out of the first. Fisher started where they left off as they got on the scoreboard first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. A Gators miscue opened the door for Mitchell Lundholm's (Plymouth, MA) 81st hit of the year putting runners on the corners with just one out. A pitch later Lundholm stole second and the ball skipped into center allowing Rivera to score and moving Lundholm up to third. A sac fly from Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) plated Lundholm easily for the 2-0 lead after one inning. After a 1-2-3 inning from Ceballos, the Falcons added their only other run in the game in the bottom of the 2nd. Vega tagged a double to right center and proceeded to steal third to allow Deziel to hit him in on a grounder to make it 3-0 heading to the third.
Randolf Flores (Brooklyn, NY) entered in the third inning to relieve Ceballos who was on a pitch count, and pitched a strong third. But the Gators got to him in the top of the 4th as a leadoff walk came back to haunt him and Cedrick Pena would hit teammate Derrick Tolbert in to make it a 3-1 game. Neither team would manage to get a baserunner passed second base for the remainder of the contest as Falcons relievers John Travieso (Miami, FL), senior John Hilcher, and senior Yamil Delgado did not allow a hit in the final three innings.
The Falcons had just six hits in the game off of Gators starter Alec Hanney who pitched the complete game for his second loss of the season. Sanchez was the lone Falcon to collect multiple hits in the nightcap as he went 2 for 4 in the victory. Flores would earn the win for the Falcons, his second of the season, and Delgado pitched his 4th save of the season and is now just two strikeouts shy of 100 for his career. Hanney took the loss on the mound pitching well for his team, allowing just the six hits and one earned run while striking out three. The Falcons pitching staff held the Gators to three hits in Game 2, and five total on the day.
The two teams are back at it Sunday afternoon for another pair of 7-inning contests. The action kicks off at 12pm at Fraser Field